More than 152,000 Delaware residents don’t have a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save when they have access to payroll deduction, will you commit to working to increase Delawarean's workplace retirement savings options and help reverse the trend of under-saving for retirement?
Carney: One of the top priorities of my administration is to maintain a responsible spending plan to keep costs low for Delaware taxpayers. This is especially important for our retirees. Before the Covid -19 pandemic, when our revenues were really strong, we established a $125 million reserve fund to protect our state during the next economic downturn. Those reserves help us get through this difficult time without raising taxes or cutting important state services Responsible fiscal leadership also helps us fund the state pension program and healthcare benefits for Delaware state employees, retirees and their families. Delaware’s pension funding ranks in the top ten in our nation. Delaware also ranks as one of the best states in the country to retire to because of our low taxes and cost of living. Here in Delaware, we will continue to promote financial responsibility and work with organizations like the United Way and Stand by Me to educate young and old about the importance of retirement savings.
DeMatteis: Over the years, I have questioned whether putting our retirement into the stock market to be the best place we could put our money. Because for so many people, they could be six months to one year away from retirement and one massive meltdown in the stock market literally blows their opportunity. What I developed is a “99” plan. My plan calls to increase people’s knowledge of how to obtain wealth by going on the principles of "Millionaire Mindset" or "The Secret" which is basically believing that you can achieve that.
Murray: Yes, I believe we need to encourage retirement saving. All possibilities are on the table. Moreover, I believe we should implement financial education in our schools so our children get started early in saving for retirement. I think we all know that if we started earlier, the compounding effect of that is fantastic over your lifetime. One of our biggest failings in our system is not educating children for the real world, and this includes how to manage money. This means educating about saving for retirement.
Delaware ranks #3 in the U.S. for the number of fraud cases reported in our state. That includes identity theft, credit card theft, and telephone fraud. Older adults are often the targets. What will you do to ensure that Delawareans are protected against fraud and deceptive or unfair business practices, and to provide opportunities for redress to victims?
DeMatteis: One of my proposals is to enact a law that, there would be financial penalties for a company or an individual that uses unfair practices to sell people unfair policies that they do not need or to try to scare them or convince them that they need to give up their Social Security information or give access to their bank accounts. One of the best ways I think we can control this is that when we find out who the culprit is to eliminate or limit their ability to open up a financial account to which that money could be transferred to once we know who the culprit is.
Carney: It’s appalling that anyone would try to take advantage of older adults by committing fraud, identity theft, credit card theft and telephone fraud. My office has worked with the Attorney General’s office to protect Delawareans against these crimes. I also signed legislation that requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach. I know this happens all the time. We enacted and lifted up programming when fraud was present at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and when retailers were gouging prices against unknowing and vulnerable citizens. Through a public awareness campaign in collaboration with the Attorney General’s office, we were able to spread the word about reporting against these crimes. And our administration will continue to protect those vulnerable to fraud in the years ahead.
Murray: Targeting senior citizens is despicable. We need to send a loud and clear message that Delaware has zero tolerance for those who prey on our seniors by increasing the classification of crimes against seniors and making the penalties stiffer. I will be tough as nails on people who scam our seniors. I’ve been doing criminal defense and I can tell you there are many more crimes that should be ratcheted up for preying on seniors.
Transportation is a vital link that connects older adults and people of all ages to social activities, economic opportunity, and community services that support their independence. But, options must be safe, affordable, accessible, dependable, and user-friendly. Varied transportation options can also help some overcome the physical limitations associated with aging and/or disability. What would you do to create and encourage a range of safe transportation options in Delaware? Also, Delaware is one of the worst-ranked states for pedestrian safety. (DE is #3 for pedestrian fatalities, according to Smart Growth America’s 2019 rankings.) What would you do to ensure that pedestrians can safely use our roadways and sidewalks, especially as communities navigate the introduction of new transportation options, like dockless bikes, scooters and increasingly autonomous vehicles?
De Matteis: This is one of the things I have been really excited about! I love the idea of putting additional smaller roadways where we can use golf carts, bicycles and strollers and things like that for different modes of transportation. One of the things I’ve been noticing when it comes to the elderly is, that a lot of times, that they cannot safely operate a vehicle any longer but they can safely operate a golf cart. With golf carts not being able to go more than 13 – 14 miles per hour I think it’s an excellent way to not only to increase transportation but also to have those crosswalks at every major intersection so that they can safely transfer.
Murray: Delaware simply has to do better about this. There are numerous things we can be doing. First, of course, this goes for everybody: Follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signs. Beyond that, we can be doing better educating new drivers about the rules of the road and strict law enforcement in protecting pedestrians. If people are in a crosswalk and drivers do not stop, then the driver should be cited. Ensuring that there are clear and safe separation between sidewalks and the roads … much of this goes as well with improving our infrastructure.
Carney: The safety of the citizens of Delaware has been and will remain my main priority as Governor. Whether it’s pedestrian safety along our highways or our response to Covid-19 we’re making significant investments….more than $4.5 billion in transportation projects in every part of our state over the next six years with a particular focus on improving pedestrian safety. Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety continues to do great work raising public awareness about safety along our roadways. We know that this is a problem and there’s more work to be done to improve pedestrian safety here in Delaware.
An estimated 4,100 Delawareans live in Delaware’s nursing homes, and they have been hard-hit by the Coronavirus this year. How will you ensure that Delaware residents receive safe, quality nursing home care?
Murray: Lots of ways. One of them is that I think we need to talk to our seniors and find out what’s really going on. As an attorney, I have senior clients that have been telling me their concerns. I think it’s an absolute tragedy how many died in long term care facilities during this Covid pandemic. I have a very hard time understanding why we would send Covid positive patients into those facilities. We have filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to find out why that happened but I can assure you as Govenor that seniors are very high on my list and I will work with seniors to find out how best to serve them.
Carney: From the onset of Covid 19, protecting Delaware’s citizens has been our top priority. This includes Delawareans with pre-existing conditions and older Delawareans, especially those in nursing home care. Early on in this crisis, we worked with the experts at the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Emergency Management Agency to confront this challenge. It was very difficult for sure, and will continue to be. We are focused first on protecting lives and increasing safety protocols. With this virus, complacency is our enemy and it can lead to terrible outcomes. That’s why we implemented additional Covid testing and training for nursing home staff. As we move through the winter flu season, we will continue to follow the science and public health experts to protect Delaware’s most vulnerable citizens Our success in fighting Covid 19 will fundamentally depend on protecting our residents in Delaware’s nursing homes. We will continue to work closely with the Division of Public Health and the nursing homes in Delaware to achieve this important objective.
DeMatteis: I actually wrote about this. I envision these all-inclusive healing retreats that utilize different alternative modalities….where healthcare options have a much broader spectrum. And to use people who are independent, who work for themselves, not necessarily a company, so when you work for yourself that’s your name that’s going out there so I really love the idea of having individuals who invest in their own business coming in and taking care of people. And that is what I have put together and laid out in my plans.
Delawareans shouldn’t have to pay the highest prices in the world for the medicines they need. What steps will you take to ensure that older people and their families have affordable access to these life-sustaining drugs? How will you address price gouging by drug makers? Loopholes that prevent access to generic drugs? Will you support drug importation from Canada and other countries with similar safety and quality standards?
Carney: Since I was elected as Lt. Governor back in 2000, I’ve been committed to promoting the health and well-being of all Delawareans. During that time, I served as Chair of the Delaware Healthcare Commission. Access to affordable prescription drugs was then and remains a high priority. We’ve made some progress. Over the summer, I was proud to sign House Bill 263 a new law sponsored by Rep. Dave Bentz that caps the cost for insulin prescriptions at $100 a month. We also created a health reinsurance program last year that helped drive down prices on the ACA marketplace by 19 percent. Prior to Covid 19 we were also working with the General Assembly on the drug purchasing bill. This bill will help reduce drug costs for Delawareans by establishing a purchasing alliance with other states, thereby strengthening our purchasing power. And we hope to re-engage those efforts in the next General Assembly.
Murray: We need to look at all options. Some of it is federal and some of it is state. On the federal level, I believe we need to bring back the manufacturing of drugs to our country and that means working with the federal government and federal elected officials to bring that back here. Delaware has some fantastic space and I would love to bring drug manufacturing back here. That would save a tremendous amount of money. We need to provide jobs for our workers and more affordable drugs to Delawareans. Our pharmaceuticals should not be made in China.
DeMatteis: In my plans that I have published and in my actions over the last year, I have travelled all around the country meeting with individuals that are huge proponents of the CBD industry. So utilizing plant-based medicine and broadening that … so whether we’re using pharmaceutical drugs or whether we're using plant-based homeopathic medicine … I have laid out a plan that I have already implemented for a global impact. Essential oils come from around the world and I am ensuring and promising to make that available.
This story is provided by AARP Delaware. Visit the AARP Delaware page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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